By Miriam Raftery
August 25, 2013 (Borrego) --A flash flood watch has been elevated to a flash flood warning today for north and central areas of East County, where heavy rain and flash flooding is occurring. Heaviest rains are from Shelter Valley north to Borrego Springs, including areas burned by the Vallecito Fire and Banner fire.
Debris flows and flooding are occurring in these areas. A SIG ALERT has been issued for Highway 78, which has been shut down in the San Felipe/Monument Valley area, where boulders have washed into the roadway. At Tarantula Wash, one-way traffic controls will remain in effect for several days until roadway repairs can be done, according to the CHP website.
Campgrounds may be impacted by flash floods and debris flows. Excessive runoff will also cause flooding of small creeks, streams, country roads and farmlands nearby.
A flash flood warning remains in effect for a broader area in our local mountains and deserts. Monitor the news to learn if this becomes elevated to a flash flood warning, which means flooding is eminent or occurring.
“Today we had the worst flash flooding we have seen in years,” Bob Kutscher, a resident of Borrego Springs on Velite Drive, a main floodway for the Hellhole Canyon watershed wrote in an e-mail to ECM. Here is a video that he shot of the flash flood on his roadway this afternoon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ky2fhdoiHpA.
Kutscher recorded 1.04 inches of ran at a weather station that he runs in the same location. http://www.wunderground.com/weatherstation/WXDailyHistory.asp?ID=KCABORRE7. For additional weather information, visit his noncommercial weather site tracking real-time data from three stations: http://www.boblandusa.com/weather.htm
In Boulevard, planning group member Melody Ponchot offered this report. "On Friday afternoon I heard what I thought was an earthquake starting, for I could hear this loud rumbling. Stepping on to the porch I look to the south of the ranch into the meadows where the sound was coming from and I see a whiteness from the heaven to the earth-a fog? No it was a wall of hail as far as the eye could see slowly coming north to me. It was hitting the ground so hard it made the earth rumbled and the size of the hail was like a large marble...it was the most amazing thing I've ever seen in 41 yrs in these parts. After 10 minutes of this, the rain came down with such force, for another 20 min that the ground couldn't even absorb it. And voila, a lake of water coverd the ground as far as I could see! Hallelujah--our poor dry land was given a drink of water we so desperately need...so bring more I say, bring more!"
Flash flooding is nature’s number on killer, the National Weather Service warns. Never try to cross a flooded roadway or wade through flooded areas. Turn around – don’t drown.
The Interagency Fire Weather Center advises that heavy rains and thunderstorms are also possible in coastal and valley areas through Monday night.